Sunday, May 29, 2016

Engaging the Powers

Last Sunday, over coffee after the service, the congregation were invited to listen to a debate of the sort that regularly happens in the church cafe between Fr Vince and Hamish about theology and social justice. It was fascinating and thought-provoking stuff. The occasion was to launch Hamish's new website  which Dominic has put together for him to make accessible various user-friendly digests of important books about the Powers which affect our world, to arm ourselves to respond intelligently to major issues that organisations like Christian Aid respond to. The website explains:

‘The Powers’ today are the big international corporations, the international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank and also the governments of the rich Western powers, particularly those of the US and the EU which includes the UK. 
Churchgoers and those of Christian sympathies are all too familiar with the devastating effects of famines, wars, floods and other natural disasters around the world, and they commit themselves to offering support in the form of cash, practical help and in many cases personal work at disaster sites.
The activities of ‘the Powers’ are less well understood. Campaigning charities like Christian Aid and Global Justice Now draw our attention, fairly forcibly, to their more direct depredations such as the ruthless exploitation of indigenous people in areas where gold and other mineral mining take or to the exorbitant and unfair demands that big corporations make on poorer countries as the price for bringing them foreign investment.There is today a growing body of literature which sheds light on the activities of ‘the Powers’ not only in more detail than media headlines can convey but also revealing the enormous increase in their activities and influence over the past 30 years, much of it hidden from public view.

The website gives us the opportunity to understand the arguments without having to find time to read all the books.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Reading Green Fest

This year Transition Town Reading are reviving the tradition of including a green festival at the same time as Reading's annual Water Fest:

Green Fest
Saturday 11 June 
11 am - 5 pm 
Town Hall Square and St Lawrence's Church


Walk the Country for Christian Aid

Last Saturday was the annual Christian Aid sponsored walk near Henley and I'm proud to say St John and St Stephen's provided the largest single church contingent. Our Pathfinders group were among them and raised £250 between them (I don't know the whole total yet).

EcoChurch - a new journey

On Sunday 1st May St John and St Stephen's started a new green journey. As usual on the first Sunday of the month we enjoyed a delicious church lunch together (raising funds for Christian Aid this month). While we were waiting we took our cups of fairtrade tea and coffee and sat round in groups to answer the EcoChurch survey. Of the adults staying for the meal (just over 40 I think) almost all those who weren't cooking were able to contribute their opinions and thoughts. I'd printed off the survey so each group only needed to fill out one section. The immediate consequence was a small working party emerged to do some tidying up in our tiny garden patch.

Back at home I entered in the answers online and found that right now we don't qualify as an EcoChurch - despite having gold standard worship our buildings and lifestyle are only just bronze and our community & global didn't even rate that (which was quite a surprise - I'd expected us to be worse on lifestyle). Consequently a group of us met up last Monday to start a new plan of action. First step is responding to the Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild which I'll be advertising in church tomorrow.

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